[Deathpenalty]death penalty news---worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Oct 1 11:53:07 CDT 2005
Bishops prod GMA on death penalty
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will ask
President Arroyos support in advocating the abolition of the death penalty
and other prison reforms.
Bishop Pedro D. Arigo, chair of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison
Pastoral Care, said Saturday that the bishops will seek an audience with
the President next week and with congressional leaders to discuss and
recommend solutions to issues and concerns affecting prisoners,
particularly those on death row and juvenile delinquents.
"Once every year, we make it a point to remind all our people to remember
our brothers and sisters who languish in our prisons and jails. It is
quite easy to forget them as fellow members of human society.
After all, to our minds they are derelicts now suffering for their sins or
offenses against society and our laws have seen to it that they pay for
They deserve what they get," Arigo said in commemoration of the observance
of Prison Awareness Sunday.
The celebration also coincides with the government's observance of
National Correctional Consciousness Week.
In espousing the abolition of capital punishment, Arigo reiterated the
Church's stand that it is an affront to the dignity of those on whom it is
inflicted and those in whose name it is employed.
"Killing people is a rejection of God's call to love one another as I have
loved you," Arigo stressed.
The CBCP-ECPPC, Arligo explained, acknowledges the people's concern about
criminality, but the death penalty is against the teachings and moral
principles of Christianity, the heart of which is the knowledge that "the
human person is central, the clearest reflection of God among us."
"Human life is inherently precious and those who commit crimes do not give
up their human dignity," he said.
"The main goal of imprisonment should not be to avenge or punish, but to
reform an erring member of society.
Not punishments with harshness and brutality or apathy but reformation by
making an offender realize his faults with mercy and compassion, make
amends and correct any injustice," he added.
Besides the abolition of the death penalty, the CBCP-ECPPC will also lobby
for the passage of the proposed Comprehensive Juvenile Justice bill, the
Pretrial Release Program bill and the revision of the present repressive
guidelines on the granting of executive clemency by giving offenders a
chance to be released after undergoing rehabilitation.
The juvenile justice bill seeks to adopt the restorative justice paradigm
in the treatment of children in conflict with the law.
The President had ordered the transfer to youth rehabilitation centers of
all children and youth offenders held behind bars.
A task force, comprising the Departments of Justice, Social Welfare and
Development, the Interior and Local Governments and the Council for the
Welfare of Children, has been created for the purpose.
The Pretrial Release Program in some cases enables an expanded release on
recognizance that prisoners will be out of jail while their cases are on
The proposal is an alternative to the present bail system and a
recognition that a person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until
proven guilty and therefore should not suffer while the complainant proves
(source: The Manila Times)
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